The next-generation of the UK's biggest-selling car is revealed
30 November 2016
Author: Debbie Wood
Originally launched in 1976, over 17 million Ford Fiestas have been sold to date. The UK's biggest-selling car since 2009, it's fair to say that this next-generation model is pretty big news.
Moving upmarket and looking to challenge premium rivals like the Volkswagen Polo and Audi A1, the new Fiesta offers more choice, combines crossover styling cues and comes with a raft of new kit.
Available in three- and five-door guises, Ford designers have not, unsurprisingly, departed too much from the current look, which has proved so popular. Featuring greater sculptured lines, sleeker wraparound headlamps and a wider grille, the new Fiesta looks more modern and polished overall.
"What we've seen in this business is more and more people considering Ford as a premium alternative," said Jim Farley, executive vice-president and president, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Ford Motor Company. "We see this as the most exciting episode in our journey."
The new Fiesta will be available in six trims. The familiar Style, Zetec and Titanium will be available, with the middle-spec Zetec expected to take the lion's share of sales. Also joining the range will be an upmarket Vignale version, a sporty ST-Line variant, and Active, the first in a new line-up of crossover-styled versions that will roll out across the Ford family.
The Fiesta Vignale is expected to account for around 6% of UK sales. The firm's luxurious trim, already available in the Mondeo, S-max, Kuga and Edge, adds 18-inch alloy wheels and leather seats as well as exclusive exterior design features and a unique ownership experience that includes 24/7 support and complementary car washes.
Blending the hatchback shape with SUV overtones is a formula that is already proving successful here in the UK. Set to join the line-up in 2018, the new Active model raises the Fiesta's ride height by 18mm and adds roof bars, additional body cladding and styling features to give the hatch a more rugged look.
For those looking for extra sporty appeal, ST-line models feature a unique grille, sports seats, front and rear bumper and side-skirt designs, a sports suspension, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
A range of petrol and diesel powertrains will be available from launch including the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost with 100hp, 125hp or 140hp, and paired with an all-new six-speed manual gearbox they are expected to emit CO2 emissions as low as 97g/km.
On the diesel front, Ford's 120hp 1.5 TDCI, available elsewhere in the firm's line-up, will also be offered and is estimated to emit CO2 as low as 89g/km. The 1.5-litre will also be available with 85hp - 10hp more than the most fuel-efficient outgoing Fiesta - and emits from 82g/km CO2 when coupled with Ford's new six-speed manual gearbox.
Also joining the range will be Ford's new 1.1-litre petrol engine, replacing the outgoing 1.25-litre petrol. It will be available with a new five-speed manual gearbox in 70hp and 85hp guise. CO2 emissions from around 101g/km are predicted.
Ford is also investing $4.5bn in electric solutions and plans to launch 13 new electric models by 2020, which BusinessCar believes, may also include an electric version of the Fiesta.
"We are on the cusp of a revolution," said Mark Fields, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company. "Ford is no longer an auto maker - we're expanding our business to become a mobility company."
A great deal of focus has been placed on the Fiesta's driving dynamics, and according to the firm the new car will deliver more grip, improved steering and greater ride quality than the current model, while improvements to sound insulation is expected to enhance comfort levels and reduce the amount of engine noise intruding into the cabin.
More space and greater technology
Longer and wider than the previous generation, interior space is improved in the new Fiesta, especially for rear passengers, which have 16mm more legroom. There are also more practical storage options around the cabin and the tailgate is wider than before, improving access to the boot.
Slip behind the wheel and you'll notice a more upmarket and premium interior that is significantly de-cluttered, with almost half the buttons from the previous version removed from the dashboard and steering wheel. A new eight-inch tablet-inspired touchscreen infotainment system is immediately noticeable and offers a range of new technology including the next-gen Sync 3 infotainment system, which includes an enhanced voice-recognition system, Apple CarPlay and pinch-and-swipe functions that imitate your Smartphone.
A total of 15 driver assistance systems will be available too, including an enhanced pedestrian-detection system, which can now work at night, Ford's parking assistance system, which has been upgraded to automatically brake the car to prevent low-speed accidents, and Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers of unseen vehicles when reversing out of parking spaces.
Also available for the first time is a glass panoramic roof and a new instrument cluster featuring a more modern 4.2-inch multi-function TFT display.
The all-new Fiesta will be built in Cologne, which has produced around eight million Fiestas to date, and will go on sale here in the UK in the summer next year with deliveries expected to start around September time.
Prices will be announced next year in the spring, but a small rise over the outgoing model is expected.